Troubleshooting Feeding Issues in Sand Boas

There is a common misconception that sand boas are difficult to feed. We have found that this is not true and most people having difficulties have major husbandry issues. It’s also perfectly normal for babies to go on a mini hunger strike while they adjust to their new homes. This cheat sheet includes our best tips and tricks for getting babies to eat.


  1. Double check your husbandry. Please see our Sand Boa Care Guide for basic care instructions. You can try a different substrate with more weight and bump up the heat a few degrees higher (96F-98F).


  1. Stop handling your snake. Sand boas thrive on being left alone! Holding your snake daily before it develops good feeding habits is a recipe for disaster. Leave the snake alone until it feeds.


  1. Wash your pinkies and serve them warm! Some snakes do not like the smell of frozen thawed rodents because the mice defecate and urinate during euthanasia. Thaw pinkies in a cup of warm water with a drop of  dish soap. Once the pinky is thawed,  run hot water into the cup and let it spill out, essentially tumble washing the pinky in clean water. Then dry off the pinky and offer it while it is still warm and offer to your snake.


  1. Feed the snake in the cage. Digging out your snake and putting it in a cup is only going to stress it out. Offer your snake food whenever you see it roaming about or sticking its head above the substrate. Try to gently wiggle the mouse on the tip or side of the snake’s mouth. If it doesn’t take the mouse, put it somewhere where the snake will find it (like under a hide or outside of a burrow) and leave it there overnight. WALK AWAY and don’t check until morning. Remove uneaten mice in the morning and discard.


  1. Have patience. It can take a few weeks for a snake to start feeding. Be patient. A few weeks or even months without food won’t seriously hurt a healthy sand boa.


  1. Try live. We currently only sell snakes that are eating frozen thawed mice, but sometimes they will refuse in their new home and want a live rodent. Sometimes it only takes one meal to get a snake started…occasionally they will want live for months. This is part of owning snakes and you should be prepared for this. Eventually most snakes will switch back to frozen (the trick is to feed them when they are VERY hungry or already riled up after eating a live rodent).
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  • 685BE67C-CD6A-4D1F-B648-F7020686CE79 - The Serpentry

    Premier East Coast Sand Boa Breeder

    The Serpentry helped get my own breeding program started, and is one of the premier east coast breeders! I made my first purchase from them in 2016 and have purchased several more animals since. They have always been helpful, answered questions and provided guidance, and really provided a personalized experience. Their animals are healthy and they are knowledgeable about not only the species but the individuals they are selling. I have really appreciated every interaction I've had with them and look forward to buying more snakes in the future! - Anna S.

  • 556DD83F-0A60-4959-A333-DEF02A02A135 - The Serpentry

    Amazing Sand Boa Breeder

    Kate has sand boas of all kinds and colors, there's a sand boa for every person. The thing I love most about her and The Serpentry is her individual love and care for every single one of her snakes. I have purchased two sand boas from her, one Kenyan sand boa and one Indian sand boa, and have had nothing but success! She is now the only person I trust getting my snakes from as you can tell how much she puts into each snake. Both of my snakes have been great eaters, lively, super healthy and alert from the get go! I also appreciate the way she takes time to educate me and answer any questions or soothe any worries I may have as a beginning snake owner. She is a one of a kind and special snake breeder that gives the community a good reputation! With all of her help, wisdom and amazing care of her snakes I can say I am a way more confident and happy snake owner than I could have ever imagined - Juliana S.

  • IMG_3262 - The Serpentry

    Wholeheartedly Recommend

    Getting my sweet long boi from Kate has been a truly wonderful
    experience! You can tell she really cares about her animals and responsible husbandry, as well as ensuring that first time snake owners are set up for success (my KSB was eating f/t and tolerated handling well from the beginning!). As a first-timer myself, Kate has been such a kind, approachable, and incredibly knowledgeable resource as I
    navigated feedings, shedding, and more--from day 1 through now. I wholeheartedly recommend her for both new and seasoned folks looking for
    great snakes! Plus, being able to support a small woman-owned business in what can otherwise be a rather intimidating, male-dominated industry was the cherry on top :) - Ella B.